Albion dance studio expands programs and space

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 15 March 2021 at 8:53 am

Fitness, art, makeup and journalism classes added to Gotta Dance

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Amy Sidari stands in the doorway of her newly-renovated space called Studio C at her Gotta Dance Studio on East Bank Street in Albion.

ALBION – A year-long pandemic and her business closed for several months gave Amy Sidari a lot of time to think – and plan.

The owner of Gotta Dance and the Cabaret at Studio B in Albion was forced to shut her doors March 5, 2020, and she didn’t open on a partial basis until Oct. 5. During this time she developed virtual entertainment and planned a performance by her students on the lawn at her home, a way to get the kids out and interacting while maintaining safe distancing.

“We had a long time without the kids, but we missed the parents, too,” Sidari said. “I’m always interested in hearing from the kids about what they are doing. I want to see what they see, and last year we missed that.”

Sidari took advantage of the down time to plan new and innovative programs and remodel an additional studio in her building with her father Ace Caldwell. They gutted all the walls, ceiling and electrical and added a bathroom and a kitchen, where Gary Simboli and his wife Laura are planning to have cooking classes. This is known as Studio C.

With three rooms available, Sidari has been able to resume dance classes with smaller numbers in each room. They are now also giving dance lessons morning, afternoon and evening to accommodate the smaller numbers.

Simboli, who retired as a vocal teacher and musical director at Albion High School, will use the new Studio C as his headquarters. He and Sidari’s new partnership called Sid-Boli Productions, will operate out of Studio C. The studio is smaller than Studio B and is suitable for more intimate gatherings, where Sidari has already had 15 people at a time for a Cabaret Hour.

During the winter, Sidari also began to think what she could do to bring not only her students, but others in the community together in small groups, to share in programs which would be fun, well-rounded, educational and entertaining.

Amy Sidari shares a glimpse of the space in her new Studio C which will be the kitchen where Gary and Laura Simboli do cooking classes. These are part of a new program Sidari is promoting to involve the community.

What she came up with is a series of programs open to anyone in the community, which she started several weeks ago and which are enjoying success.

“I always thought of my studio as a healing place, and that inspired the new program,” Sidari said. “I’d like to see it snowball so we have so many participants we can’t fit them in.”

One program which has already begun is “Family Fitness Fun” with certified physical education instructor Chelsea Colmenero.

“She teaches physical fitness in such a creative, fun way that families don’t realize they are exercising,” Sidari said. “Each family has its own six-foot cubicle and props which are only used by them.”

A second program is art lessons, led by Laura Kemler from Laura Loxley, her store offering vintage inspired goods in Albion. Several people are taking part in her class, Watercolors 101.

On April 1, Orleans Hub writer Ginny Kropf will lead a class on journalism called “Behind the Scenes.”

“These kids are old enough to express their thoughts in words, generate paragraphs and take photographs,” Sidari said.

Class participants will hear the famous people Kropf has met and interviewed, learn how to do an interview, how important words and accuracy are, how to write an article and an editorial and the career opportunities available by being a journalist.

Another program – the “Dos and Don’ts of Wearing Makeup” – will be led by Lauren Thomas of Holley. This program will begin April 13.

“I’m so excited about her,” Sidari said. “She just graduated from cosmetology school and is fabulous with makeup. She is also very hip with kids.”

She will teach how to determine good color techniques for each skin tone, how to apply makeup, and how to take everyday makeup and change it to be stage ready.

Sidari has more ideas for classes in mind, such as etiquette (how to set a table and which utensil to use); how to perform a simple mending task; and how to buy clothing (what the staples for a wardrobe are and how to maximize what’s already in your wardrobe).

“I want my students to learn not only dance, but discipline, respect and life skills to make their lives successful,” Sidari said. “Gotta Dance by Miss Amy is so much more than dance.”

Boys, girls, men and women are invited to participate in any of the classes. Information on signing up for any of these classes is available on Gotta Dance’s website and Facebook page, by calling (585) 354-2320 or checking

Sidari said she has already received a booking for her first bus tour this summer, something she said is a good sign people are getting back to normal.